Archive for the ‘just for fun’ Category

And Sew On…Reigniting Passion

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

Life is funny.

You can love something so much all your life and yet one day you wake up and find yourself in a rut. Tired. Burned out. It’s not that you–and by you, I mean me–hate what you’re doing. You still love it way down deep inside, it’s just not quite the same anymore. What used to hold so much excitement now feels lackluster and dull.

Shhhh….I’m going to tell you a secret. This happened to me with sewing and quilting. YIKES!!!!

Don’t get me wrong. I still love it.  I’m not leaving. I plan to be around for a long, long time.  But the same old stuff just wasn’t lighting me up like before.  I felt like something was missing. I needed something….more.

But…what?  I reflected a long, long time. I resisted an even longer time.  And then…I surrendered. Meet my new best friend, Buelah.

  • B – is for Brave, together we will bravely explore new territory.
  • U – is for (virtually) unbreakable…quite literally, she is an industrial machine.
  • E – is for exquisite stitches sewn, strong and straight.
  • L – is for love, my love for creating beautiful new items out of old stuff that would otherwise go into the trash.
  • A – is for able, because together we are.
  • H – is for happiness and the joy that has been returned!

Buelah is a Juki DU-1181N, single-needle, straight stitch, top and bottom feed industrial sewing machine. She is truly a WORK HORSE! She comes with a high capacity M bobbin, has her own Servo motor, and can sew up to 2,000 stitches a minute (not that we ever get close to that!). She has a max stitch length of 9mm and even has her own sexy knee lifter that can lift her presser foot up to 15mm.

Right about now you’re probably asking what on earth possessed me to purchase this machine. The short answer to that is: Bike Tubes.

As you may–or may not–know, I love recycling UP-cycling old bike tubes (and other things) into useful items. Yes, it’s true. I was able to sew bike tube on my domestic machine…but not without a lot of fiddling, prepping and babying because that machine was NOT made to sew rubber. Buelah? Well…she sews rubber like butter, baby. The truth is that–before I made the decision to get Buelah–I knew I was killing my domestic machine. That made me really sad. So I realized what I was doing was really limiting myself not doing the sewing/work that I crave the most because of course I couldn’t bear to kill my domestic sewing machine. I love her.

What have I created so far?  These are just a couple items. Several more prototypes are in the works.

UP-cycled Bike Tube and UP-cycled Bike Map Cell-Phone Wallet/Pouch gift I made for a dear cycling friend from the southern part of New Mexico
Inside of the UP-cycled Bike Tube/Bike Map Cell-Phone Wallet Pouch.
The patch pocket is an original block print by Tammy Schurr, my very dear friend and Adventure Cycling Event Director/Tour Leader.
Minimalist UP-cycled Bike Tube Zip Pouch
Minimalist Zip Pouch
Lined with UP-cycled DenimJeans

Sew what’s the point of all this?  Here are 3 points I can share right now: 

  • Exploration of my passion to recycle/UP-cycle old materials into something new, useful and beautiful through sewing.
  • Diversification of business for SewThankful. I will be sewing and selling a limited number of finished UP-cycled bike related items. Many bike friends and associates have asked me to sew and SELL my creations. This will be a new adventure and I am excited to see where it takes me.
  • Vehicle for development of new Sew TracyLee Designs patterns. The patterns will be adjusted and written for sewing quilting cottons and traditional fabrics.

What do you think?  I’m interested in your constructive thoughts and comments.  Please feel free to share below but note that in order to prevent spambots and junk I have to moderate each comment so it may take a little while for yours to post.

How to make & add a hanging loop to your project in 3 easy steps!

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

 

Do you have a small project–like the Double-sided Button Rick Rack Flower used here as a decorative zipper pull–that you’d like to hang as a decorative zipper pull or wall ornament or tree ornament or attach to something like a gift/package, etc. but you need a way to do so?

 

 

Adding a hanging loop is a super simple way to solve that problem and here’s how to do it in 3 easy steps:

1.  CUT a length of string, yarn, narrow ribbon, bakers twine, etc. I usually go with about a 6 – 8 inch length unless I need a longer dangle. If longer dangle is necessary, then cut a longer piece.

Remember, the length of dangle will be 1/2 the length you cut MINUS about 1 inch give or take depending on how close to the end you tie your knot AND whether you are looping around a button (or similar) or through a hole.

2.  KNOT the ends. Make the knot as close to the ends as possible.

Knot the ends.

3. ATTACH to your project. Loop the string around (or through–if there is a hole to insert through), then insert the “folded” end of your loop through the strings of the knotted end.

Click image to enlarge picture and view detail. Pull the “folded” end so that the knot disappears behind the button (or on the back side of your flat item if inserting through a hole.)

If you have a small fabric item that you need to add a hanging hole to, you could use an awl to pierce a hole.

Want the pattern for how to make the Double-sided Button Rick Rack Flower shown here?  It’s included as a bonus in my StandZa Zip Bags sewing pattern.

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Holy Super-Sized Spooky Sweetpea!

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Giant Sweetpea PodsJust one 18″ square of vinyl mesh and some rick rack, ribbon, a zipper and two zipper pulls made these Spooky-Sweet Treat Pods of Deliciousness.

You’ll need to use Sullivan’s Make-A-Zipper On A Roll  and cut it a few inches longer than the longest side of your triangle (see pattern for cutting instructions).  Also keep in mind– if you’re going to swap out the zipper pulls to a different color than your zipper tape–you must be sure to use the SAME BRAND and SAME SIZE pull as the tape. Test your zipper tape and pulls for compatibility BEFORE using in your project.  Not all zipper brands will work.

It’s SEW FAST and SUPER EASY to make this super-sized babies because you omit the interfacing and lining steps! For the zipper pull strings, I used thin strips of recycled bicycle tube. If you don’t have the LazyGirl Sweetpea sewing pattern yet, get it ON SALE NOW. Click here and order yours today.

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POPCORN AWESOMENESS–make your own microwave popcorn!

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

Mind blowing…that’s what this was for me.

Made in the microwave…no fuss…no muss…no nasty preservatives.  You control the salt and all your favorite toppings!

I have a weakness. Yes, quilts, fabric, threads, sewing and bicycles.  But no, that’s not what I’m talking about now. I have a major weakness for popcorn.  I always have. Salty, crunchy, (sometimes spicy) and always delicious. POPCORN.  Make it sweet.  Make it spicy. Make it buttery.  Make it any way you want.

I. LOVE. POPCORN.

Air popped popcorn just doesn’t cut it for me and who wants to clean up that funky machine?

I love microwave popcorn…ummmmm. Have you ever checked out the ingredients for that stuff?  Uggggh.

Stove-top popcorn is awesome, but the cleanup is a hassle.

I need something fast, easy, inexpensive, relatively healthy (and OK…sometimes not so healthy if that’s what I choose) and inexpensive.

So, when I discovered I can make my own microwave popcorn I was…BLOWN AWAY!

Here’s what you need:

  • Microwave
  • 1 brown paper bag (lunch sack size)
  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • OPTIONAL toppings:  salt, butter, coconut oil, pepper, spices, caramel or any topping of your choice

THAT’S IT! Can you believe it?

Here’s HOW you do it…OMG it’s too easy:

  • Place 1/4 cup popcorn kernels (I prefer organic of any brand, but use your favorite type and brand) in a brown paper lunch bag.
  • Fold the bag down about 3 times with approx. 1 inch each fold; creasing firmly with each fold.
  • Place in the center of the microwave and close the door.
  • Press the “popcorn” button if your microwave has one.  If your microwave doesn’t have a “popcorn” button, set it for 4 minutes and LISTEN CLOSELY.  After your popcorn has started popping, it will be done when it goes approximately 3 – 5 seconds without making a pop. If you get to the end of 4 minutes and your popcorn hasn’t even started popping you either need fresh popcorn or a new microwave.
  • Once popped, pour the popcorn into your favorite bowl and add your favorite toppings.

Enjoy…amazing popcorn. Healthier. Tastier. And at a fraction of the cost.

 

 

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JUNE Bag Sewing — Sugar Skull Run Around LOVE

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

LazyGirl Run Around Bag sewing patternYep, I’m just going to be honest. I’ve neglected the SewThankful blog for way too long.

Sew…I’ll try to catch back up by going back through and adding projects I’ve completed and reviewed the last year or so.

This is the Lazy Girl Run Around Bag I sewed for myself in early June 2017.

Living in New Mexico, Day of the Dead is a big deal and over the years I have come to love the celebration. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to reflect on and celebrate the lives of those I’ve loved and lost in this life.

SEW…I just have to say, I *loved* every second of sewing this super fun Sugar Skull Run Around Bag. She’s sleek and sweet and fun to wear. Yes, I’m done with carrying heavy “mom bags”…cuz my kids are grown or nearly grown and I’m ready to lighten the load.

I did a couple of change-ups with the zipper…notice two colors of zipper tape and a different color zipper pull? The “extended” pull is braided fabric used to make the bag with frayed/tattered soft end.

The Run Around pattern is super easy and goes together incredibly FAST. Can you say, “Instant GRATIFICATION?”

If you’re looking for a minimalist cross-body bag to carry your essentials and maybe a few small extras, *THIS is the pattern you NEED*.  This bag makes great gifts and uses hardly any fabric.

The Run Around Bag is a Lazy Girl Designs sewing pattern is ON SALE NOW at SewThankful: http://www.sewthankful.com/LazyGirlRunAroundBag_SewingPattern.html

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